Lena Headey speaks on showrunners’ emotional Game of Thrones wrap speech

My face when I heard the news

This past Thursday night, Lena Headey was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote her new film, but let’s be honest—Game of Thrones was the main topic of discussion. As well as complaining about her “turnip wig,” the actress revealed what showrunners David Benioff & Dan Weiss did to celebrate her last day of filming as Cersei.

“They usually give us all of [the scripts], and if anyone says they don’t flick to the end [to see if they made it], they’re lying,” Headey said. “And then we had a big read-through. We didn’t do one until this final season, when we were all in Belfast. It was really emotional.”

Headey also revealed what the showrunners did in season eight when a starring cast member like herself wrapped their role, leaving Game of Thrones behind once and for all:

“I was like, ‘It’s been nine years, it’s been amazing, and I’m happy to go and find new things’, and then I knew David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], our creators, were doing speeches and giving everybody these drawings of the storyboards, and I suddenly got really emotional at the end, trying to head down the stairs, and they all rushed up and trapped me. And then they gave the speech; it was really moving!”

Please do watch the video interview for more about her “turnip wig,” a story that’s “not very Queen Cersei at all” and a pretty hilarious tale from her teenage years.

41 responses

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    1. Lena looks stunning in the capture from the Kimmel Show! A very fine actress doing a very fine job with an awful character.

      I assumed the speech D&D gave was part of the post! LOL I’m so knacked or should I say knackered!

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    2. She’s a very beautiful woman without the wig and also very funny. When I saw Lena Headey in another movie, I think it was The Bothers Grimm, she reminded me of Lyanna Stark.

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    3. Why did she say they filmed until the “end of last year”, specifically “October”? I thought filming wrapped in July? That’s a huge disparity.

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    4. Jack Bauer 24:
      Why did she say they filmed until the “end of last year”, specifically “October”? I thought filming wrapped in July? That’s a huge disparity.

      I think she’s just mistaken. She looked like she didn’t really remember when she answered. Perhaps she said October because that’s when filming started in 2017. She was just confused, I guess.

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    5. I thought the complete opposite of some of the other comments. I thought she looked in rough shape during the interview. I dont mean by beauty. I mean she seemed like she was either jet lagged or on some type of drugs. Didn’t seem healthy at all. I saw this interview on YouTube a few hours after it was released and I cringed during most of it.

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    6. Nick20: I think she’s just mistaken. She looked like she didn’t really remember when she answered. Perhaps she said October because that’s when filming started in 2017. She was just confused, I guess.

      Or maybe we’ve been mistaken? Maybe she did film a scene or redo a scene or something? I know they’ve said they filmed “fake” scenes and some other stuff to try and throw people off of spoilers. Sure, she could have been mistaken. But going from filming ending mid year (July) to late year (October) is quite much.

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    7. The Bastard,

      Likely jet lagged. I get motion sickness when I fly and have to take anti nausea pills and they leave me quite foggy in the head for hours, even after I land. I”m sure people that I’ve spoken with during those times likely wondered what the heck I was on as well. Maybe something similar is going on here.

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    8. Jack Bauer 24,
      I wouldn’t read too much into it. She was just kind of throwing stuff out there – “October-Y.” I think she was just thinking how they filmed deep into the year and just said a late sounding month. I figured most people would sooner focus on her comment of being “like the 12th one out.”

      If they had actually been filming things in October I’m pretty certain we would have heard about it before now. They’d be proud to state they filmed for “over a year” because they’ve been proudly stating already that they filmed for ~10 months.

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    9. God it’s been a ride. I’ve been so tuned out these last couple of seasons, some times I forget how immersed I was for much of it. I wonder if this last season can return to form for me? Probably not, but I hope they surprise me.

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    10. Lena’s performance is a big part of the glue holding GOT together. She delivers – even as Cersei has become more one-dimensional and she has less to work with…She is also such a natural beauty.

      Charles Dance, Jack Gleeson, Dink, NCW, Lena, Fairley, Sean, Robb, Dianna Rigg, Hound, Roose have held so much of GOT together – with performers like these we probably did not notice lots of sins in writing and production. With a weaker cast over the last seasons and no source book, GOT is more wobbly. D&D made the right choice to finish up with S8.

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    11. She is rocking that hairdo. I don’t know what it was about this interview, there were funny parts (reading books, lol), but Jimmy Kimmel has really started to annoy me. I know people rag on Fallon for ‘fake laughing’, but Kimmel’s “huhuhuhuh” and constant interrupting are making me nuts.

      Could be hormones.

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    12. loco73,

      Hey, thanks for the Naomi Watts interview link! I read this part, and thought to myself: “Better get used to it”:

      Naomi Watts her first taste at “Game of Thrones” madness, laughing her way through an interview, trying to deflect questions about the upcoming HBO prequel.

      Speaking at Variety’s Sundance Studio, presented by AT&T — where Watts was on hand for her film “Luce,” which premieres Sunday night at festival — the actress insisted she had to stay mum on all things “Game of Thrones.”

      “Do you really think I’m going to tell you that? Are you trying to catch me off guard?” Watts laughed, when asked about the plot of her prequel series.”

      As I’ve said before, casting her was a major coup. And if there are any CGI creatures in the prequel, no actress or actor is better at interacting with CGI animals than Naomi Watts. Check out her scenes in King Kong…

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    13. Not going to lie Lena is such a stark contrast to Cersei in real life, totally down to earth and funny.

      As for wrapping up, weren’t Kit and Maisie the last two (presumably because they were involved in some fighting scenes). I am excluding the re-shoots which happened back end of last year.

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    14. Jack Bauer 24:
      Why did she say they filmed until the “end of last year”, specifically “October”? I thought filming wrapped in July? That’s a huge disparity.

      I mentioned this in the prior thread Jack but my understanding is filming wrapped in July but they did some re-shoots at the back end of last year, this was why Kit had to keep his hair long for a period.

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    15. So the GoT FB page definitely unpinned the “Crypts of Winterfell” teaser and completely removed it from their timeline. I see other people on Facebook asking where the teaser went in some of the comments of their previous posts. A bit odd considering their FB page has over 22 million followers compared to the 3 million subscribers on YT. Why would they keep the teaser of YT where they have 19 million less followers compared to FB?

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    16. Ten Bears,

      Yeah and you better believe I was still out there shoveling shit and getting no credit for it.

      I’ve been popping in once in a while. I think I’ll be more active now (much to the chagrin of some) but I’m going to try and be more positive. I am looking forward to the prequel, in my view they couldn’t have picked a better showrunner. I just hope that Jane can bring back the show’s voice and take it back to being a show about grey and dark characters where no one is safe instead of Marvelizing it like D & D at the end. We shall see.

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    17. Hanadix:
      Saay anyhing you want about D&D, but we can all agree they found the best actress to play Cersei. She’s just amazing.

      I’m a huge fan of David and Dan, but Nina Gold did the casting.

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    18. I’m not disagreeing with you Jack I do believe D&D were key (above Nina) with some casting including Peter Dinklage and Sean Bean, possibly Lena too. They actually, infamously, posted on the Westeros.org website when they were planning this asking contributors for recommendations on who to cast, a good read if you have time. Although sadly that site is now very troll heavy and has some serious anti-GOT contributors.

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    19. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Jane Goldman specialises in superficial nonsense. If you dislike what D&D have done with this universe lately, then you’re going to be despondent when you see her handiwork.

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    20. Ms Heady has given such a remarkable performance as Cersei her interpretation shall remain in my mind whenever the books are released. I sympathize with HBO’s Cersei, she’s been a victim more aught than nigh. A loveless marriage and brutalized on top of it. Her supposedly dead baby Gendry snatched away, probably by Varys, he can’t have the Baratheon line solidify its hold.
      She had nothing to do with Jon Arryn, and Robert’s death was all Lancel, he was the one that always kept the wine flowing, per not just Cersei but Robert’s orders. Any queen worth her weight would attempt to destroy any man threatening her children. She wanted Ned to go north, most of the horror in KL was perpetrated by Joffrey, the bastard massacre, cruelty to Sansa and others. Joffrey even threatened to kill his mother. The events that led to Ned’s demise was all Littlefinger and Catelyn, he set Ned up, directed Jamie and convinced Joffrey to execute him.
      She hated Tyrion and that clouded her judgement, but when Jamie told her the truth, she slowly began making peace with Tyrion in season 7 finale. She started showing some good political machinations toward the end, concerning the Sept, sparrow threat, allegiance with Greyjoy, Iron Bank and Golden Company, not so much considering the NK though. Her ruthlessness toward Ellaria and Tyne was justified considering what they’d done.
      She was responsible for Lady’s death and innocent at the Sept, the minor lords and ladies present; then again they showed up hoping to see Cersei get death, for stuff she didn’t do, after all 90% can be laid at Robert’s and Joffrey’s feet, and as said beforehand, the war was due to Littlefingers machinations, and the horrors were Tywins and Robbs responsibility. It was their soldiers committing all the war crimes.
      Yes Cersei committed adultery and fornication, but Robert too, and that’s what happens when you let religion and religious zealots control law and order. After all, everyone sins, supposedly, according to religion which of course was created by religious zealots to give themselves power over the people. Therefore cut Queen Cersei some slack, remember all she’s gone through and all the stuff blamed on her for others doing.

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    21. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      You’re crazy. She’s knocked it out of the park in all of her Matthew Vaughn collaborations. Kingsman, Kick-Ass, X-men: First Class, etc. I’d call those movies highly creative and original, not superficial. Dark. Edgy. Maybe nothing directly in tone with GoT, but great writing and that’s what’s important. She’ll figure it out. She’s going to knock it out of the park with the prequel, couldn’t more happy with her choice as show runner.

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    22. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      We’ll have to agree to disagree on the quality of her collaborations with Matthew Vaughn. I wouldn’t describe anything she’s worked on as dark or edgy in anything but superficial respects.

      I can’t understand how anybody who is unhappy with D&D’s “Marvelizing” of this universe could look at her body of work and conclude that she is going to solve the problem.

      Looking at the cast that’s been assembled, my fears about her stewardship already appear to be coming true. It looks more like they were casting for Stardust 2 rather than a prequel set thousands of years before Game of Thrones.

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    23. Pigeon,

      Oh, good. It isn’t just me. I rarely watch late-night TV (I rarely watch network TV, period), and I thought he was terrible. No idea how to lead an interview, awkward silences, appearing flummoxed… jeez.

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    24. Pigeon: Jimmy Kimmel has really started to annoy me.

      I was really put off by his aggressiveness with Lena. Is that normal for Kimmel? I rarely watch him – usually only clips that appear elsewhere with guests who interest me, or if he’s making a political rant. Don’t think I’ve ever sat through a whole show. But I didn’t have the impression that this is his usual tone.

      I mean, it’s nice that he’s an unabashed Thronie fanboy and all, but constantly changing the subject to GoT when his guest has more current projects that need a signal boost – that just doesn’t seem like what a talk show host is supposed to be doing, to my mind.

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    25. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

      Point is, her and Matthew Vaughn’s collaborations are unique and original. I don’t think they’re superficial or anywhere close to Marvel. They’re outside the box thinkers. That’s all you can really ask for in the person who’s going to run GoT, someone who has a great writer’s voice. Her movies may not be a one to one match in tone to GoT (or even close), but they are speculative fiction, they have a lot of violence and great action. We could have done so much worse. And I haven’t paid much attention to the casting outside of Watts who I love, what’s the problem there?

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    26. Wolfish,


      He did a pretty funny skit with Lena (as Cersei) a few years back, but this one was awkward, I thought. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I hate it when interviewers cut off or talk over people. He was like that with Rami Malek as well, and I kinda wanted to throttle him.

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    27. I don’t understand why people think that getting Lady killed was one of the most Cruel thing she did. If you were in her position would you allow a dangerous direwolf to be around who bit your son’s arm. Knowing how fireCely proteCtive she is of her Children it seems so obvious that she would get rid of all wolves ensuring that they do not be a risk for her family for another seCond and also forCing the innoCent wolf to get killed sends a strong message that no one Can get away with messing with her son.

      At Joffrey’s wedding she instruCted that the leftovers from the feast be given to the dogs in the kennels instead of the poor in the City as per Margaery’s idea. That was the one time I felt Cersei aCted out of CharaChter and was quite petty and inConsiderate just to undermine Margaery. Other than that I feel she is my most favorite Charahter and the life of this show. Lena Headey is amazing as an aCtress and is so Charming and truly beautiful, the kind of person you would instantly have a Crush on and want to be around. I think this is the longest her natural hair has been sinCe a long while and she looks amazing with it. I think she looked good in the interview and was funny, I kept wondering why the audienCe was so unresponsive and dull throughout the interview remaining silent and not reaCting to the funny things she said. This is hardly been the Case in her past interviews where she is always a delight and is appreCiated for her humor and given a more enCouraging response from the Crowd. Maybe the audienCe really hated her CharaChter of Cersei lately and was a little Cold. Anyways. I love Lena and wish she did more interviews and appearanCes, I find her very attraCtive and unique.

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